Review of TABLE FOR FIVE by Susan Wiggs (see her website)
MIRA, April 2005
Schoolteacher Lily Robinson keeps her heart. Every year, she lets wonderful children into it, and every year, she graduates them out. She won't risk real love, real children of her own--because she can never recover from losing her younger brother. But when her best friend dies, leaving three children, Lily knows that her worst fears have been realized. She can't help loving these children--but their uncle, not Lily, is responsible for their upbringing.
Sean McGuire is a disgraced golfer. Falsely accused of cheating by the Japanese Mafia, Sean has been drummed from the sport he loves. With his brother's death, Sean has plenty to keep him busy--three children are a lot of work--but he knows he needs more. The kids were troubled even before their parents' death, and they're worse now. And giving up his own life for them doesn't seem to offer much help.
After a painfully slow and introspective introduction, author Susan Wiggs (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Wiggs) picks up the pace with a moving and heartwarming romance. Sean, in particular, is a likable character--he loves children, is drop-dead good looking, golfs like a dream, and always knows just what to say or do. The troubled children, traumatized by their parents' death and by another secret, are realistically drawn--neither too perfect nor horrid but realistically troubled children.
Death of a friend, a brother, and three children's parents is definitely a downer. But Wiggs's heartwarming storytelling and strong writing allows us to see hope and promise for the future coming from this tragic beginning.
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